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27 May 2012 @ 11:14 pm
Fic: In My Young Life I Get So Hurt, Will I Make it in the Real World?  
Title: In My Young Life I Get so Hurt, Will I Make it in the Real World?
Author: jannika
Fandom: One Direction RPF
Pairings: Harry/Louis, Liam/Zayn, Niall/Music, probably Ot5 if you want to see it.
Words: 9,000
Rating: R
Warnings: AU? Swearing. Social turbulence. Some slight implied racial and LGBT violence.
Disclaimer: I cannot and do not own real people.
Summary: A 1960s AU in which the five of them spend a summer driving around in VW Van and trying to organize protests and mobilize college students. Harry writes speeches. Liam organizes everything. Niall plays protest songs on his guitar. Zayn paints on people. Louis yells the loudest and tries to figure out how he fits into it all.
Author's Note: Because I decided they needed 60s protest AU, and then I decided that Protest AU should also be Road Trip AU. Yeah. 1960s AUs are like, my secret favorite thing, and I needed this to exist. So. For folkloric_feel who is the Liam to my Zayn. Always.



This was never supposed to become such a big part of his life. Louis' not even sure how it happened, actually, how he's ended up on the front lines of all of this. It's not that he doesn't believe in it all, not that he's doesn't stand for all the things they yell. Of course he does, because this war is bullshit and because hate and oppression and all of that are the worst and because seriously, fuck growing up to be just like their parents and having lives cut out of boxes and following rules that doesn't make sense. All of that is just a given though, it's not like he's some sort of society-overthrowing radical. Except that somehow, he's become one. He's somehow become the core of a group at the very center of so many things and he still isn't sure when that happened.

The thing is that he's good at it. The thing is that when he yells, people listen, and when he wants to distract them or make them laugh or get cops to head off the other way, he can always do that, too. The thing is that he can get these crowds drawn around them and get people to sign petitions and sit down in front of city halls and not move. The thing is that he's good at coming up with quotes to give to journalists off the top of his head and he's good at backing spokespeople for the other side into corners. He's good. People respect him. He's made friends, and they've formed some sort of team, and he thinks he might somehow be the leader of it, and it feels really good and important and meaningful.

They're planning to go away for the summer now, planning to take Harry's van and drive around the country to campuses and mobilize and gain support and spread messages and organize sit-ins and get their voices heard and there were a million other things Louis was supposed to do this summer. He was going to take classes and get a job and he was going to figure out what to do with his life- but he finds himself nodding along and agreeing with Liam when he talks about the need to mobilize. He finds himself agreeing to pack some bags and head off on a cross-country summer-long road trip with guys he's only known for a couple of months and with no real plan for when they'll be back.

He tells himself it will be a getaway. He tells himself that when he gets home in the fall he'll make choices and pick a career and he'll get back to his real life. He tells himself that this is a good way to pass time while he figures things out. He tells himself that if they happen to stage some really successful stuff on the way, that's just an added bonus. He tells himself that even if they end up arrested for a night or two, this will still mostly be a good story to tell some day when he's old. He tells himself that none of the reasons he's agreeing to all of this have curly hair and low voices and keys to the van he'll be spending the summer in and are named Harry.

**

The first time he meets all of them, it's late Match on an evening chilly enough that Louis pulls his hands into the sleeves of his sweater a little as he walks through campus aimlessly. He's avoiding his room and the paper he should be writing and those looks his roommate always gives him and he finds himself drawn towards a gathering of people on the lawn outside the English building, drawn to the bonfires and the guitar cords and the yelling. He heads over, mostly because he's bored and curious and cold and restless, and when he steps onto the lawn, it's warmer and the air smells better than it had and so he decides to stay for a little and see what this is about.

There's a blond kid by the biggest fire. He's got a guitar and he's playing a Bob Dylan song and people look enraptured and Louis gets why, because this guy is really good and his voice somehow makes the words even more meaningful then they already are. He finishes that song and then announces that next one will be one he wrote and has been working on and Louis finds himself walking closer to the fire to listen. He's really impressed with this one too, and it must show on his face because someone walks up next to him and says,

"Good, isn't he?" and Louis turns his head to see a guy with light brown hair and serious eyes looking at him.

"Yeah," Louis says. The guy grins at him.

"I don't know you," the guy says, not like it's a bad thing or like he's kicking Louis out or anything, but just sort of curious like maybe he's used to the same people turning out at things like this over and over.

"I'm Louis," Louis says, reaching out to shake the guy's hand.

"I’m Liam, and that's Niall," The guy- Liam- says, gesturing over the guy on the guitar.

"Hey," Louis says.

"So. Were you interested in signing up? We have literature you can read and there are things you could help with. We're having a sit-in over at the city council building on Tuesday, if you're interested?" Liam says, his voice going a little official and Louis thinks he must be in charge. Louis isn't quite sure what to say back to that, mostly because he's not sure what sort of protest he's walked into or what they're sitting in about. He tries to scan for signs people are holding and listen to pieces of conversation to try and piece it together but it's mostly a general blur.

"Sign up for what, exactly?" He asks, feeling a little bit like an ass for asking.

"Oh!" Liam says, flushing a little, "Right! Sorry. Um. This is an outdoor social for the Movement for Peace and Justice and Against Discrimination. Our focus is generally on being part of the positive social change and peaceful protest of war and all forms of oppression. This spring we're really looking to concentrate on the voting age while still making our voices known on other important issues," Liam says, sounding every bit like he's reading from their official mission statement. It's probably a lot more endearing that it should be.

"You guys have the longest name in the world," Louis says, grinning, "but yeah. I can get behind all of that."

"We do. We've never been able to figure out how to make it more precise," Liam says, "But really? You're interested? Can I count you in for Tuesday?"

"Tuesday is for the voting age?" Louis asks, which makes Liam flush again. Louis has decided in the past five minutes that he really likes this Liam guy a lot, so it actually doesn't matter if Tuesday's protest is for some ridiculous side project, he'll probably show up anyway.

"Yes," Liam confirms.

"I'll be there. Old enough to die in it, old enough to vote on it, right?" Louis says.

'Right! Yes!" Liam says, bouncing a little as he does. Louis is pretty sure it would be inappropriate to tell him he's kind of adorable, but he's really tempted. "Let's go get you signed up! I think the sheet for Tuesday is circulating, and if you wanted to sign up for other things too we can track down all of those, too!"

"Let's go," Louis says, grinning and enjoying himself more than he would have thought. Liam's enthusiasm is catchy. Liam leads him away from Niall and his songs and that fire to a smaller fire several yards away where a dark haired guy has a small crowd around him. When they get closer Louis sees that this guy's crowd is because he's painting on people. He's painting on people by firelight with small brush strokes and a serious look on his face as he makes colors and symbols splash across the skin on a red-haired girl's forearm. They just stand there for a minute and Louis gets the impression they're waiting on him to finish.

The painting guy looks up after a bit, and Louis sucks in a breath when the firelight catches his face. The guy smiles a very pretty smile in Liam's direction and his eyes light up a little and he's got paint smeared on his face and Louis allows himself to think that if protesting allows a lot of looking at people who look like this guy, then protesting might be a very, very good use of his time. He shakes his head to clear that thought away as the guy excuses himself and walks over toward them.

"Hey," the guy says. Liam beams at him.

"Zayn, this is Louis. Louis, this is Zayn," Liam says. Louis extends a hand and Zayn grins and shakes it, leaving a little swipe of blue paint on Louis' palm when their hands pull apart.

"Hi," Louis says.

"Louis is going to come sit with us on Tuesday, and probably sign up for some other things too," Liam says to Zayn.

"Good. We need more people," Zayn says, his voice warm.

"Have you seen the sheets?" Liam asks. Zayn shakes his head.

"I think Harry might have them?" He says. He turns his eyes on Louis then, apparently taking in his appearance, "Did you want some color?" he asks.

"What?" Louis asks. Liam chuckles.

"Zayn likes to make sure we all look the part," he explains. Louis raises his eyebrows and examines Liam, who, aside from his slightly long hair, looks pretty straight-laced as far as he can tell. Liam grins again and must understand the question because he runs a hand through his hair, shifting it to behind his ear so that Louis can see the letters- the initials of the group's name, painted in delicate letters running down from the edge of his eyebrows.

"I like it when our skin is part of our movement and reflects our passion," Zayn shoots back, but affectionately and like he's perfected the phrasing of that answer in multiple back-and-forths he's had about it. Liam smiles back and gives Zayn a look that makes Louis raise his eyebrows again. Not that it's any of his business what a look between them means.

"You should let him, Louis. You stay and let Zayn paint and I'll go see if I can find Harry and those sheets," Liam says.

"Okay," Louis hears himself agreeing, mostly because he can't think of any reason not to agree.

"Good. I'll be back," Liam says. Then he waves and he's off and Louis finds himself sitting down by the fire while Zayn's eyes roam him.

"Take it easy on me? I'm new at this," Louis says. Zayn grins.

"Any thoughts?" he says.

"You do letters, right? I could go for 'fuck oppression' or something a long those lines," Louis says. Zayn nods.

"I can do that. Where?" he asks.

"Where are you willing to go?" Louis asks, smirking, because he can't help himself. Zayn sort of giggles at that, and shakes his head a little, but doesn't look at all offended or anything, so that's good. "Sorry. I mean. Um. Here?" Louis says, unbuttoning his sweater and button down a couple of buttons so that he's got a swatch of skin available under his collar bone. He figures it's the most skin he can expose and still be warm.

"Don't need to apologize," Zayn says, smirking a little as he says it.

"Good, because I'm not really sorry at all," Louis says.

"I didn't think so," Zayn says, his eyes surveying the skin Louis has exposed, "Can I use colors?"

"Any colors you want," Louis says, "make me pretty."

"I'll try," Zayn says, and he blushes just a little, and God, this is fun. Louis does not remember another time when he was comfortable enough with people to flirt like this right away, another place where he felt confident enough to do it. He likes that. Zayn sets to work on his painting, and Louis grins and just lets himself enjoy the way warmth spreads through him under Zayn's hands and brush strokes. He's let himself get lost in the sensation and the glow from the fire and the faint strands of Niall's song floating in the night when a deep voice says,

"Excellent sentiment," and Louis looks up to see a guy with huge eyes and big curls looking at him in a way that makes Louis swallow a little.

"Thanks," Louis says, staring at the guy.

"Liam found you, then?" Zayn asks, not looking up from his painting on Louis.

"He did," the guy who must be Harry says, "he'll be right over."

"Are you Harry?" Louis asks, aware he's still staring but unable to bring himself to stop or care because Harry is magnetic and gorgeous and his voice makes Louis' pulse do things he's sure Zayn can feel under his brush.

"I am. And you're Louis?" Harry asks.

"Yes," Louis says.

"And you're joining up?" Harry asks.

"Yes," Louis repeats, then, desperate to think of something intelligent say he adds, "Liam said you had papers and things to sign?" Harry nods and passes over a clipboard and Louis is sure his pulse skips around a little again because Harry's hands are covered in paint, swirling designs and loops and letters and symbols that reach all over his hands and down his fingers and Dear God, if that doesn't make Louis desperately want those hands on him.

"The top one is for Tuesday, and then we've got a few other things planned for April under that if you want," Harry says. Louis takes the clipboard and writes his name on every single sheet, barely bothering read them.

"I'll be there," Louis says, handing the board back to Harry, who rewards him with a smile that hits Louis right in the chest.

**

The next morning he convinces himself that it been a combination of the firelight and the paint fumes and that he's not even sure he'll really show up for any of it. Or, at least he tries to convince himself of that, but there are paint stains on his shirt and when he showers he doesn't even try to scrub off Zayn's handiwork, so when he heads to class there are still bits of paint clinging to him and visions of Harry that dance to the melody of Niall's song and he knows he'll be there on Tuesday.

**

Tuesday turns into several days a week and into nights spent planning strategies and into Harry writing these brilliant speeches that Louis hears himself yell out to angry faces and cheers. They turn into being the focus of Louis's life, turn into spending all his free time with Harry, Liam, Zayn, and Niall even when they're not planning or having a protest of sorts. They turn into Louis finding himself reading newspapers and keeping up on things he'd only vaguely known about before, just so he has things to contribute. They turn into Harry walking into Liam's apartment one day and saying he's just used all his savings to buy a van and he wants the five of them to spend the summer mobilizing their movement and taking their voices farther. He says he thinks they could really make a difference, and Louis agrees before anyone else says a word.

**

Liam had spent the weeks between Harry buying the van and the day they set out sending out letters and postcards to leaders of similar organizations all over the country, and he's got a stack back and he grins when he tells them that there are several stops where they have floor space with their name on it and people already signed up to help them. The rest of the stops might mean sleeping in the van, but Niall has made it his mission to deck Harry's van out with pillows and blankets and coolers and other supplies while Liam as writing all those letters, so they'll be good, Louis thinks. Hopes.

**

Sometimes they stop at little dinners and cafes, and some night they're fed by whatever campus group in whatever town is taking them in, but a lot of nights they pull the van over and build fires and sit around them and cook from the supplies they'd packed and Niall brings out his guitar and they eat and sometimes all sing along with Niall and they talk about their lives and the things that brought them to this.

Harry talks about the bakery he'd worked in until he'd gotten fired for serving non-white customers. He says he can't really afford tuition in fall without a job and he could look for a new one but that he feels like it's because he's supposed to be throwing himself into all of this and changing the world. He feels like he got fired for a reason.

"You probably could have lasted another semester on your savings if you hadn't bought the van," Liam remarks one night, not reproachful or judging but impressed. Harry shrugs.

"What good was one more semester going to do? I'd still be broke and without a degree. And this is important," Harry says. That terrifies Louis a little. He doesn't really care about degrees or credits or any of that, but he does care that one more semester would have bought time because not being a student means Harry could get drafted the second he officially withdraws in the fall. He doesn't know what Harry would do then. He doesn't know what any of them would do.

Niall talks about the time he'd almost gotten a record contract, and from almost anyone else ever Louis would doubt that was a real story, but he believes it from Niall, completely.

"They didn't want me, though. They wanted some sort of fucking Buddy Holly," Niall says the first time he tells Louis the story.

"They had songs written for you, didn't they?" Liam asks.

Niall nods, "songs about sweet sixteen parties and first cars and nothing that actually matters at all," he says.

"One day we're going to have to figure out how to get you on an AM station," Harry says fondly. Sometimes Louis wonders how long they'd all been friends before he came into the picture- he's never sure when they all came together or in what order or even how close anyone (except probably Liam and Zayn) were before he met them all in March. Sometimes he gets the impression it wasn't long at all, days, maybe. One day he'll have to ask.

Liam talks about his best friend growing up, the one who was drafted right after they graduated high school, the one who Liam hasn't heard from in over a year. The one who Liam has no idea if is alive or dead.

"I mean, it could just be that mail is shit, or that he's laying in a hospital and he's okay but can't write," Liam will say like he's trying to convince himself.

"Maybe when we get back you'll have heard something. You'll have a letter in your campus box," Niall will say like he's trying to help. Liam will just nod at that, and get far away and unfocused like he normally never is, just for a second.

The story, when Liam tells it, always dances around another question that Louis' never asked, because Liam's eyes always get this look in and his voice does this thing and Zayn always put a hand on him and Louis isn't sure the best friend growing up was just a friend. He could be, could have been, but there is just something in the way Liam talks about him that Louis recognizes, and he wonders.

Zayn talks about how he'd seen most of the guys he'd grown up with get drafted, or run from the draft, or get arrested for being in the wrong place in the wrong time, about how he'd gone to school as far from home as he could get because home was getting terrifying. He says there were fires and riots and that his junior and senior years in high school had been hell.

"They changed laws but not people, you know?" Zayn says often, and then he launches into musing about changing people's hearts and heads and how that's really what they need to, that they need to make people see that that have to change, be better.

"This is why secretly you're the idealistic philosopher of us all, not me," Harry likes to put in after Zayn's tangents, an impressed look on his face.

"Your words are better than mine," Zayn always says back.

Louis thinks he should know where exactly it is that Zayn is from, that he should know exactly what Zayn is referring to, but that's another thing he's just not sure of, even though it seems really important.

Louis also doesn't normally know what to say when they talk like this. He feels like he's just a guy who got distracted on a walk one day and ended up around this fire, and that he doesn’t really have a compelling story at all. No one ever asks, though. He doesn't know if it's because normally he talks more than all of them combined or because they just don't want to push him. Either way, sometimes it makes him feel like a fake.

**

One afternoon Louis wakes up from a nap somewhere in Indiana with Niall still asleep and Harry concentrating on the road and singing to himself as he does and with murmurs that have to be Liam and Zayn coming from behind him. He turns and sees that that they have to be sitting on the floor behind the last seat, practically in the trunk, because all he can see is their feet. He scoots over in his seat and leans his neck in an attempt to see them better. He almost feels bad when he does, feels like he's interrupting.

They're sitting on the ground and Zayn has his paints out and Liam's not wearing a shirt and Zayn is drawing lines all over Liam and they're both a little flushed and giggling a little. Louis thinks that maybe Zayn had started out drawing an actual thing but then ended up just sort of decorating Liam as a way to keep touching him. He feels like he should probably try to move back before they see him, but they must feel his eyes because Liam looks up at him before Louis has a chance to move.

"Hey," Liam says, blushing a little deeper.

"Good nap?" Zayn asks, stilling his hands.

"Yeah," Louis says, and then he watches the way Liam is sort of still arching himself towards Zayn and the way the lines of paint fall low and high all over Liam's chest and he can't not say something.

"Am I interrupting something?" Louis asks, keeping it light enough that he's not backing them into a corner, but that thing he thought he saw between them on the first night has only been more obvious on the road, and he thinks he should get credit for making it this long without commenting. Liam sort of swallows and Zayn shakes his head.

"Just passing time," Liam says, a little red. They both look a little helpless and Zayn is biting is lip and Louis decides to press it just a little bit farther, just so they know.

"It would be okay if I was, you know," he says. Zayn shoots him a look that is nothing but grateful, and Louis takes that as confirmation.

"C'mere, I'll paint you too," Zayn says. He's still blushing a little, and Liam's eyes are sort of dancing around like he's afraid that if he focuses them on Zayn he'll be confessing things. Louis pulls his own shirt off and slides down between them and says,

"Make me pretty?" like he had that first night, and the two of them take paints and decorate him and he almost feels them redirecting their energy from each other on to him. It makes him feel like a very, very helpful friend.

**

A few days later they're in a mayor's front yard when they get rained on in the middle of Niall's encore, and they all dash off in different directions and Louis finds himself hidden under a tree a few blocks away with Liam. They spend a few minutes bouncing and shivering, with Liam worrying that all their papers and the new flyers Zayn had designed were destroyed, and then they're just shivering, the tree not providing as much shelter as they'd like. Louis pulls Liam into him, because soaking wet body heat is better than nothing. Liam relaxes into him and they are quite for a second and then Liam says,

"Would it be?"

"What?" Louis asks.

"I think I wanted you to be interrupting something," Liam says. Louis grins into Liam's hair.

"Yeah? For how long?" Louis asks.

"How long what?"

"How long have you wanted there to be something to interrupt?" Louis asks.

"Probably since the day I met him," Liam says, "I don't really remember?"

"How long ago you guys meet?" Louis asks, feeling like this conversation is his lead into a few of those questions.

"Six months," Liam says, then he turns around a little so that he's still pulled against Louis but facing him now, "I met Zayn first, then Niall, Harry only showed up a couple of weeks before you did." Louis nods.

"Yes, it would be okay," he says.

"Yeah?" Liam asks. Louis nods, and then, because he's not sure how much other rain-soaked one-on-one time he's going to have with Liam, he says,

"Yes. Have you ever, before Zayn, where there other guys?" Liam turns red at that and says,

"Not really. Officially. It never went like I wanted it to," he finishes. Louis gets that. He really, really gets that. He still feels like it's out of line, even for him, to ask about Liam's drafted friend, but he feels like Liam had sort of already answered that, implied it, anyway.

"I get it," Louis says. He takes a deep breath, some other thoughts nagging at his head, things he could say, things forming in his head, but then the rain starts to lighten and voices call out to them and they dash off to find everyone else and he watches Liam straighten himself out to go shake hands with the guy hosting them and thank him for his hospitality.

There are journalists and a few cop cars circling the mayor's when the get back. Louis guesses they were waiting out the rain too. Normally they'd stay to give quotes and spread the word, but everyone looks sort of rain soaked and miserable and so they just sort of trudge back to the van after Liam is done talking to their host.

**

He can't sleep as they drive south, and he thinks about just giving it up and waking them all up enough and saying he'll drive a little since he's not sleeping. Driving is Harry's job, though, and he doesn’t really want to anyway, not really. He takes a notebook out of his stuff and starts a letter home, the one he's been meaning to write for weeks about how he promises he'll go back to his real life in the fall and how he's safe and he knows he has to stop playing games when he gets home and how he's not really sorry, but he's sorry if they're worried. He stops halfway, wondering how much of it is true. He doesn't know what his real life is anymore, and somewhere in watching Liam and Zayn and his talk with Liam and somewhere in the things he feels when he looks at Harry that are getting harder and harder to ignore and somewhere in the way sometimes he feels emotion threaten to overwhelm him at Niall's songs, he's wondered if he can ever actually go back to normal life. To real. To what he was supposed to do.

He's starting to think he might have reasons he never realized. He's starting to think he's some kind of radical after all.

He doesn't sleep at all that night.

**

He's shouting the words to a speech Harry has been tweaking for weeks on a campus somewhere outside Memphis, yelling about how they have the right to be heard, about how many of their friends have they seen shipped off for a war they couldn't vote on, and people are listening like they always do, rapt attention on him, and he catches Harry's eye. Harry is looking at him like he cannot imagine anything better in the world than Louis' voice saying his words, and it makes Louis falter, just for a second. He shakes his head and pulls right back, but he stares at Harry for the rest of the speech.

Later, when Niall is leading everyone in choruses of songs and Liam is making sure people sign their always present petition, Louis slides up to Harry with two lemonades in his hand. He passes one to Harry, grinning.

"A toast to the speech writer?" he says. Harry smiles back.

"A toast to the speech giver," he says, and they clink their lemonade cups.

"Did Liam tell you he had to buy another notebook for all our signatures?" Louis asks. Harry nods.

"We're really doing it, aren't we?" Harry says.

"I think we might be," Louis says. Harry beams at him, and Louis has to swallow a million things he wants to say, has to swallow so many that he hears himself ask,

"Where are you going to stay when we get back?"

"What do you mean?" Harry asks.

"Well, if you're not in school, you can't be in dorms, and you have to live somewhere," Louis says.

"Yeah. I don't know yet?" Harry says.

"Live with me?" Louis says, an impulse he can't bite back.

"You would want that?" Harry asks, and he's beaming, he's almost glowing when he asks, and God, that's dangerous.

"I really would," Louis says. "Would you?"

"Yes," Harry says, nodding rapidly.

"I warn you, I'm messy and I don't cook," Louis says, grinning.

"I'll cook. I'm pretty good," Harry says.

"That will work out perfectly, then," Louis says. Harry smiles, but then shakes his head and frowns for a second.

"You wouldn't be too mad if I had to run to Canada at some point? I wouldn't want to leave you stuck on a lease," Harry says, sounding small. Louis feels like he's been punched. That answers what Harry would do, and Louis supposed it's better than shipped off to war, but it still brings reality rushing back a little too harsh and hurts.

"I'd probably just run with you," Louis says, and he tries to keep it light and laugh a little as he says it, because he needs this to hurt less.

"That's not funny," Harry says.

"I know," Louis says, "I know."

**

Liam goes through his stack of postcards on the van, talking to himself a little as he does.

"I think at this next stop we'll be able to print up your new design," he says to Zayn, "and actually, I think we might able to try for radio for time." He says. Niall lights up.

"Yeah?" he asks.

"Yeah. This guy says they have a local AM that goes pretty far and that they have connections to, so we probably want to try that? I think they're expecting us to just talk on it, but I'd rather we got one of Niall's songs out?" Liam says, leaving the question at the end in case anyone disagrees.

"Absolutely," Zayn says.

"Yeah," Harry says.

"Yes," Louis agrees. Niall grins at all of them.

"You guys think?" he says, "Because I've been thinking that this one," he pulls up the guitar that had been resting on his lap and starts playing a tune that's familiar to them all now, "is kind of like the anthem for us? It's kind of everything?"

"I agree," Liam says, and everyone else nods. Niall glows.

**

The radio station pays them in a home-cooked meal that is more food than they've had in two months now, and Niall says it's better than getting paid in money and they all agree. Before they even leave, several dozen people have called in asking to hear Niall's song again, and the stations asks for permission to replay the recording of it they'd made. Niall agrees and Liam tacks on that if they could mention at the end of each recording that Niall is currently touring the country with their petition, they can play it as often as they want.

They leave with hundreds of newly designed fliers and a thousand new signatures on their petition in addition to the full stomachs and the radio play, making it their most successful stop yet.

**

Two days later they almost get arrested.

There is a moment that lasts a lifetime when Louis honestly thinks he's not going to be able to talk his way out of this and that they're going to end up rotting in jail in some small town he doesn’t even know the name of. They'd just been stopped for gas, but they'd noticed a gathering on the lawn of what appeared to be a community college while they were fueling up, and figured they'd might as well stop in.

It turned out to be a huge mistake. It turned out to be a pro-war speech given by an army general who had not taken kindly to the five of them and called the police before the five of them had time to do much of anything.

They're let off, but barely, and the message they receive is clearly,

"Get the fuck out of our town. We don't need your kind."

Harry speeds down the highway, and everyone's good mood from a few days ago is ruined.

**

The next day Harry is still agitated, and while the rest of them are sitting in the sun, Zayn smoking and Niall plucking out random notes on his guitar, Harry takes his frustrations out cleaning the van. Not that they have cleaning supplies or garbage bags or anything of the sort, but Harry tries anyway, and no one really knows what to say to stop him. About an hour into his cleaning he storms out of the van, looking angrier than he had before. He stalks over to them, eyes blazing and locked on Louis. He's got a sheet of paper in his hand.

"Game?" he asks, staring at Louis. Louis feels his heart sink.

"What?" he asks.

"This was stuffed in a seat cushion," Harry says, holding the crumpled paper up so that Louis can see that it's the letter he'd tried to write home weeks ago.

"I didn't mean it like that," he says. Harry narrows his eyes.

"Do you take any of this seriously at all?" He spits.

"Of course I do!" Louis says. Harry scoffs.

"What's going on?" Liam asks.

"Did you know Louis is going back to his 'real life' in the fall?" Harry says, almost spits, "that this is a game?"

"That's not what I meant," Louis says again. He's never seen Harry this angry, and now Liam, Zayn and Niall are glaring at him too.

"It's what you wrote!" Harry says, disgusted, "This is all a game to you, isn't it? You're just passing a summer, not taking any of this fucking seriously at all, aren't you? Do you even understand how much this matters?"

"That's not fair! We almost got arrested yesterday, I think I know how serious this is," Louis says.

"Everything is a joke to you!" Harry says.

"You're angry and you're taking it on me and I don't have to listen to this. You guys know I take this seriously," Louis says, but everyone is still sort of glaring at him.

"I'm angry because you're not angry! Why aren't you angry?" Harry throws back.

"Of course I'm angry!" Louis says.

"You're not! You say my words and I'm not even sure you mean them!" Harry says.

"Since when?" Louis asks, "when exactly did you start to doubt me, Harry?" He asks, and he's angry now, because maybe there was a time when that was true, but that time has passed and he's furious that Harry of all people doesn't know that.

"Since I found out you plan to go back to 'real life' in the fall!" Harry says.

"I don't know why you're so stuck on that!" Louis says.

"Because this is real!" Harry says.

"We live out of a fucking van, Harry! That's not life!" he says, and everyone winces a little at that.

"What is, then?" Harry challenges.

"Staying in one place for more than a night? A roof?" Louis says.

"This is the most important thing any of us have ever done, and you don't care!" Harry says.

"How is saying I'd like a roof the same as not caring about what we're doing here?" Louis shoots back.

"How was living with me going to fit into your real life? Or was that just something you said as part of the game?" Harry says, and that hurts and it makes Louis wonder if that's what they're really fighting about which is stupid because of course he'd meant it, of course he wants Harry to live with him and Harry could have just said that.

"Of course it wasn't! You can be under my roof with me!" Louis says, and he feels the way the other three raise their eyebrows at that but he ignores it.

"So you can what? Take classes and get a job doing the same things we've been fighting all summer? So you can figure out which picket fence you're going to hide behind and you pat my head while I'm still out there fighting? I don't see how that's any more real!" Harry says, and Louis hears the way Harry says 'hide' and it makes his blood boil.

"You just don't want summer this to end because then you have to face it! Because then you have to go back and drop out and wait to get fucking drafted!" Louis says. Harry recoils. "What are you going to do, Harry? Sit inside all day and try not to watch the news? Run away when the day comes? How fucking dare you accuse me of hiding when you plan to run!" he spits. It's too far and he knows it's too far the moment he says it but he doesn't care. Harry sort of crumbles at that.

"Fuck you, Louis." he says, and then he turns on his heel and walks away.

"Probably not your best move, man," Niall says in the silence. Louis just glares at him and then heads off somewhere he can sulk by himself

**

Harry doesn’t speak to him for three days, and everyone else is awkward around him too, and it makes the sit-in they stage weird and hard and Louis is so miserable he doesn't know what to do. He pulls Zayn aside when he gets the chance, while Niall is signing autographs- because Niall signs autographs now because that radio play keeps getting broader- and Liam is wrapping up the official things and while Harry is- he has no idea where Harry is and that makes him need to talk to Zayn even more.

"Do you hate me?" he says.

"Course not," Zayn says.

"Do you think Harry does?" Louis asks, and Zayn shrugs.

"He'll get over it," Zayn says. Louis sighs. He feels defeated.

"When?" He asks, trying not to sound childish.

"I don't know," Zayn says, "you guys were planning to live together?"

"We talked about it a few times," Louis says.

"Is there a thing to interrupt going on?" Zayn asks, and Louis feels himself smile for the first time in days.

"I wish," Louis says. Zayn tilts his head a little.

"You should show him how serious you are, then." he says.

"I don't really know what this summer has been if not me taking it seriously," Louis says.

"Sometimes you do seem less focused, though. Less serious. More like you could just put this whole summer behind you when we get back. I don't think you are, but I can see how it could feel that way," Zayn says.

"I used to be," Louis admits, "I'm not anymore, though."

"You should tell him that, or tell everyone that with him there," Zayn says. Louis nods. Zayn grins and they fall into a comfortable silence.

"Thanks," Louis says after a minute. Zayn nods and pulls out his cigarettes.

"You want?" he asks. Louis nods.

"God, yes," he says. It's a habit he's picked up on over the summer, and really, if he has ever needed one, he needs one now. Zayn passes him one and some matches.

"I thought so," he says, taking a drag of his own.

"How are your things to interrupt going?" Louis asks after a minute. Zayn turns a little red.

"I'm not sure," he says. Louis studies him for a moment, and then decides that someone, at least, should be happy, so he decides to interfere, just a little.

"He wants there to be things to be interrupt, you know," he says. Zayn startles so much at that he almost drops his cigarette.

"What?" he asks.

"He told me," Louis says, "weeks ago."

"Oh," Zayn says, and his face gets sort of wistful, and somewhere in the middle of being happy for them, something in Louis snaps and the edges of all the things he's been feeling all summer come together and he gets it.

He knows.

**

That night when they're parked for the night but not asleep yet, Louis stands up and pulls out a flashlight and makes sure they're all looking him. Harry's look is more of a glare, but Louis will take what he can get. He clears his throat.

"In the beginning of summer I didn't know why I was here," Louis says, "Harry's right. But I've learned. I get it now, and I care." He says. Harry sort of scoffs at that, but Louis presses on, "You guys had all these stories to tell about things that made you angry and things that made you realize how much bullshit so many things were, and I never knew what to say. I told myself I never knew what to say. I think that was a lie though. I think I always knew what I was angry about," Louis says. He takes a breath and looks at all of them.

"Go on," Niall says, encouraging and genuine and thank god for Niall. Louis pulls up the leg of his pants and takes a minute to shine the flashlight on a scar on his calf. He hears Liam suck in a breath.

"In ninth grade," He says, "I had this friend, this male friend, and we built this shed in his parents' back yard, and we used to have sleepovers in it, and one night we snuck some of his parents' wine and we were talking and drinking and then-" Louis stops again and takes a breath, because he's never told this story out loud before,

"And then?" Niall prompts again, because he's wonderful.

"And then we were a little drunk and we kissing," Louis says in a rush, and now everyone's eyes are locked on his, "and then his older brother burst in from nowhere and I don't know if he'd been watching the whole time but we scrambled apart and then I was literally thrown out, and I don't, I don't even remember the things he said, but he actually picked me up and threw me out the door of the shed, and I hit my leg on the way out, and I ran, bleeding, all the way back home. I never went back, I never saw him again. I couldn't even tell anyone I was hurt, you know? I just tried to treat it myself with stuff from my mom's bathroom, but it was really deep and it bled for a week and it turned colors and I'm probably lucky all I have is this scar," he says, and they're all just looking at him, hardly breathing.

"I've been angry ever since. I'm angry about everything, I'm angry about wars and about voting and about Harry getting fired and about Niall's bullshit record offer and about Liam's friend and Zayn's neighborhood and about every horrible story we've heard and all the shit we've seen this summer and I'm angry about fucking everything and I'm never going to hide behind a fence. I can't. I don't want. I can't be anything they want me, us, everyone, to be. I don't want any of that, I just want-" he stops and looks at Harry again, "I'm never going to marry a girl and I'm never going to not want all the things I want and I'm not going to stop being angry when we get home. And maybe it took me all summer to see that, but I mean every word I just said," Louis finishes.

The air in the van is still, and then Harry says, "good," slowly, but then breaks into a smile.

"Are we all friends again?" Niall asks, which breaks the tension and everyone grins and things feel better. Louis feels better.

**

The next morning he actually does interrupt something between Liam and Zayn. He finds them when he comes back to the van to grab a pick for Niall and the two of them tangled are in each other and they're kissing like no one else in the world exists.

"Sorry," he says, when they break apart at the sound of his footsteps, "I'm leaving again right now, I promise."

"No," Zayn says, "Thank you."

"For what?" Louis asks.

"For making us brave," Liam says.

Louis thinks that's probably the best thing anyone has ever said to him.

**

"I'm thinking," Niall says that afternoon, "That on my record I'm going to theme it, and make each song about a thing we're fighting."

"That would be amazing," Louis says sincerely. Niall nods. The radio thing has worked out really, really well for him. So well that they're all pretty sure Niall is going to be properly signed once they're back and in one place long enough that he can be contacted. For the past few weeks, every stop they've made has been full of people who already knew the words to Niall's song. Louis thinks that if that is the biggest thing that comes out of all this, it's still probably enough to change the world.

"I was thinking about what you said, about being angry," Niall says, "and I think everyone is angry, like every kid we've met this summer has been angry about something, and so that's what this should be about. About us and the way we feel," Niall says. Louis nods.

"Agreed," Louis says. Niall turns to study him seriously over the rim of the beer they'd managed to get at this stop. (A stop that had also produced pizza, so it's a good day, really.)

"I want all of you to sing with me on one of the songs," he says.

"What?" Louis asks.

"When we all sing around the fire, I like how our voices sound together, and I want that. On my record," he says.

"Really?" Louis asks.

"Yeah. Do you think everyone else would go for it?" Niall asks. Louis finds himself nodding rapidly.

"I really do," he says. And then he grabs Niall's beer and take a chug for himself and lets himself get lost in a little bit of a fantasy where Niall's record is a hit and they change the world and live happily ever after.

**

Harry finds him the next morning. He's standing outside smoking one of Zayn's cigarettes, and Harry sort of slides up and doesn't say anything.

"Are you still mad at me?" Louis asks.

"No." Harry says.

"Okay," Louis says.

"Do you still want to live with me?" Harry says, a little sheepish.

"Of course I do," Louis says, trying not to beam. He had been a little worried that even if his speech had gotten Harry to forgive him it might have scared him off from the prospect of them living together.

"I'm scared," Harry says. Louis nods.

"I know," Louis says.

"No," Harry says, "Not of going home or being drafted or being dirt broke. I mean, I am scared of all those things. But I'm also- do you know why I was so mad at you?"

"For not taking things seriously?" Louis says, like maybe it's a trick question. Harry sighs and runs a hand through his hair.

"No. Yes. But no. I. If you didn't take this seriously, I didn't know how you could take living with me seriously or how you could take me seriously," Harry says.

"How could anyone not take you seriously?" Louis asks.

"No. I just, I was worried that you were just-" Harry stops, but Louis cuts him off because he can't take it anymore and he tugs on Harry's shirt and throws down the cigarette and kisses Harry, long and slow and with every feeling he's had for months poured into it.

"I might not have always been serious about all of this, but I was always serious about you," Louis says against Harry's lips, "that was part of the problem."

"Oh," Harry breaths out, shaky and reaching a hand up to cling to Louis.

"The night we met you had paint all over your hands, and all I wanted was for your hands to be on me," Louis confesses, and Harry sort of shudders at that.

"You make my words come to life," he says, and then they're kissing again and it's even more than Louis thought it would be and he never, ever wants to stop kissing Harry, never wants this to end.

"You still want to live with me?" Louis asks when they break apart, just a little teasing, repeating Harry's own question.

"Of course," Harry says, resting his forehead against Louis'. "I won't want to ever leave, not even to Canada. I don't know what I'm going to do, Louis," he says. Louis wraps a hand around Harry's back and pulls him in even closer.

"We'll figure it out, I promise," he says. He means it, even if he has no idea how that's possible.

**

A few weeks later they pull back into the city limits of home, and no one has any idea what's going to happen. They don't know what's waiting for them, they don't know if Niall will be famous by the end of the week and take them all with him, at least a little, or if Liam will have that letter he's been waiting on for so long, or if there is some way Harry can put off dropping out, just to buy them time. They don't know what's going to happen when they send in that petition they've been working on all summer, they don't know what they're going to do with all their anger and energy when they have to confine it to campus and local things again, at least for a while.

Louis has never felt more uncertain in his life, but when they pull the van over a few blocks before campus, taking a minute to just breathe and sort of cling to each other before they return, he feels like in other ways, he's never known more. He doesn't know what will happen, but he does know how Harry's hand feels in his and how Harry's lips taste and how he can make Harry arch and make whimpering noises. He does know that maybe they have a real shot with Niall's music, because God, Niall deserves it. He does know that their petition is impressive and they should be proud of themselves, no matter what. He does know that this summer had two great love stories, and that he's honestly never been happier for a couple than he is for Liam and Zayn.

He does know that no matter what happens, no matter what he has to face, he has four people to face it with.

Maybe that's all he needs.
 
 
( 47 comments — Leave a comment )
Archylou: Buffy phone brothersarchylou on May 28th, 2012 03:27 am (UTC)
This is absolutely stunning.
Stephanie: 1D: Liam: competent and darlingjannika on May 28th, 2012 10:39 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much!! ♥
folkloric_feel: 1D: in our bedroom after the warfolkloric_feel on May 28th, 2012 03:39 am (UTC)
I am going to tell you this until you believe me: this is probably the best/my favorite thing you have written in fandom. ♥

Your Louis here just. He absolutely kills me. I cannot. It's almost strange at first to think of him as being tentative about things, to think of him not instantly bounding in and at least playing at being totally sure of himself, but it works so perfectly here. So perfectly. His arc throughout this is just stunning, and his backstory, well, you saw how it actually made me cry (and I feel like it probably explains a lot of his initial tentativeness?). I am so proud of Louis in this verse. So damn proud of him.

And the development of his relationship with Harry is just. I cannot. The fight between the two of them. Is absolutely perfect and hits me so hard. And Harry being the words to Louis' voice (I see what you did there...) and Harry thinking about running away to Canada and Harry being so hurt by the letter and I just. The arc between them is absolutely gorgeous.

The Liam/Zayn in the background hits me right in the heart. Your Liam, with his friendly optimism and his organization skills and his more-than-a-friend who got drafted. I just want to make the whole world okay for him. But in lieu of being able to do that, I am very glad he has a Zayn. So very glad. The scene with them in the back of the van with the paint. I just. I cannot. And your Zayn here. Your Zayn is always the most perfect thing of all, but this Zayn - this Zayn is just incredible. His relationship with Louis - the two of them sharing smoke breaks, because Louis smokes in this verse, of course he would. And Zayn's backstory here. It absolutely just. It breaks my heart in all the ways that real Zayn breaks my heart. How you incorporated so many of the things about their real histories in here - Zayn and rioting in his hometown, Harry working at the bakery - it is perfect.

And NIALL. Oh my goodness, your Niall here takes me back to his X Factor audition and the command he can have over a crowd and the seriousness which he approaches his music with and I just. I am so damn proud of your Niall. So damn proud of him. I want him to make it big and I want their song together to be a hit and I want them to change this world just as much as I want these five to change the real world.

Everyone should read this fic. Everyone in the world. I just.

(i love you ♥)
Stephanie: 1D: romantically codependentjannika on May 28th, 2012 10:42 pm (UTC)
*blushes*

Well. I mean. I've only been thinking about this one for weeks now. So. *nods*

I am so, so glad my Louis here works for you, because he just has So Many Feelings in this verse and so many things in his head and he's kind of on a journey here- and he still has all these ridiculous!moments because he's a Louis- but. Yeah.

And Harry and Louis are just. That is exactly what I did there and I felt like it fit here?

This Zayn is actually my favorite Zayn I'm ever written, too, I think? And it makes me bounce when you like my Liam. So. *g*

And well. Niall. And them. And just.

Thank you, so much. So much.

(♥)
alittlebitmaybealittlebitmaybe on May 28th, 2012 04:17 am (UTC)
i actually feel like crying just from the summary for this fic. i'm not sure if i'll survive it? 60s protests are my FAVORITE thing, non-secretly, and i've never actually read an au about it and it's a road trip besides and oh my god you are my new favorite person??? UNNECESSARY QUESTION MARKS OF DISBELIEF???

(aka, placeholder flail comment)
alittlebitmaybealittlebitmaybe on May 28th, 2012 05:05 am (UTC)
louis being GOOD at it, getting caught up in it all, feeling important but not quite being sure how it all happened in the first place or if he's in it for the long haul. GOD HELP ME. I'M IN THE SECOND PARAGRAPH AND OOF. OOF.

your characterisation is so flawless that i want to never read another fic ever again because it would pale in comparison oh goodness liam and zayn are just as perfect as louis. WHAT ARE YOU DOING TO ME. I AM A MESS OF 60S-STANNING FANGIRL.

harry's hands covered in paint. my eyes just crossed. i can picture this all so so clearly i want to wrap myself up in it. i want this sewn onto my eyelids.

and harry being all fatalist and ambitious. he is so the type to want to go out and change everything, to really believe he can do that single-handedly, to think he was meant to. there's that beautiful romantic ideal of the 60s that i adore so much. these kids believed they were important.

the fucking draft. liam's story is so much like one of my dad's (minus the subtext, ha) that it's making my throat close up.

god, harry joking about running to canada just punched me in the gut. "I'd probably just run with you" i just had to put a pillow over my face so i wouldn't wake everyone up oh my

"I won't want to ever leave, not even to Canada. I don't know what I'm going to do, Louis" [muffled sobbing]

THIS IS SUCH A FAILURE OF A COMMENT FOR HOW MUCH I AM FEELING SO HAVE SOME CAPSLOCK AND LACK OF PROPER PUNCTUATION BECAUSE THIS IS MY FAVORITE THING EVER AND I DON'T KNOW HOW TO EXPRESS IT. IT IS BEAUTIFUL AND PAINFUL AND TERRIFYING AND HOPEFUL AND MY CHEST IS CONSTRICTING. right in the feels. also, thank you. you are wonderful.
Stephanie: 1D: sneaky OTP feelsjannika on May 28th, 2012 10:46 pm (UTC)
People who geek out about 60s set things are good people. *g*

Thank you so, so much. ♥

Harry's hands covered in paint might my personal favorite little thing in here, so. *nods*

This world just, I needed to put them here and I'm so, so glad it worked for you and that you liked it. ♥

Thank you so much!

snuffleslovesnuffleslove on May 28th, 2012 04:41 am (UTC)
damn babe, how do you do this to me every time? i really don't understand! x

this was beautiful and i loved your background ziam and the last conversation harry and louis have and louis' growth and oh niall. thank god for niall.

tysm for sharing!
Stephanie: 1D: DJ Malikjannika on May 28th, 2012 10:48 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much!!

I'm so, so glad you liked it. Writing something that was so much about Louis growing was a lot of fun and I'm so glad it all worked for you!

Thank you!

Shivamowglimoonshado on May 28th, 2012 04:42 am (UTC)
That was amazing. I loved your use of Louis' pov and how he grew so much by the end. Also the two love stories were lovely
Stephanie: 1D: When the world rains glitterjannika on May 28th, 2012 10:48 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much!

I'm so glad that Louis' growth and the love stories worked for you!

Thanks again!

s.: liam/zaynpendules on May 28th, 2012 04:44 am (UTC)
this gave me so many feelings. seriously so lovely. ♥
Stephanie: 1D:Harry&capturesjannika on May 28th, 2012 10:48 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much!! ♥
booboomagoo: Stock - Only Live Oncebadjujuboo on May 28th, 2012 08:15 am (UTC)
wow. just WOW. This hit so many of the things I love about a good story - it had heart, complicated characters and situations that were completely believable. I loved the emotions Louis went through - trying to find his place in this new world that is forever changing as it was in the 60's and Liam and Zayn - holy HELL that was hot with him painting everyone "make me pretty" UNF and HARRY! I kept picturing him as this Jim Morrison type - but with heart and less drugs. I strangely enough LOVED the argument he and louis had because it really forced them both to think about their lives more than just in the hear an now. Love Niall's part in this too - the whole thing BLEW ME AWAY it was amazing.
Stephanie: 1D:fantastic little peoplejannika on May 28th, 2012 10:51 pm (UTC)
Thank you so, so much! ♥

Louis' journey was so much fun to write, and I loved introducing Zayn into the story that way, and I'm so, so glad that it all worked for you and that you liked it.

Thank you so much!

Maboutademongirl on May 28th, 2012 10:42 am (UTC)
I can't even, and I really don't want to even.

I can feel my face crumpling up because of all the best reasons right now, and it's because of youuuuu x
Stephanie: 1D: Harry&Zayn&intellectjannika on May 28th, 2012 10:51 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much!!

♥ ♥
colazitron: Louis is too pretty for his own goodcolazitron on May 28th, 2012 10:55 am (UTC)
Oh my god, wow. This was really amazing and very ... visceral and real. It throws a good punch. I love how effortlessly you made them all fit into this and still had them be themselves and not some 1D-shaped other people. Louis' charisma would lend itself perfectly to this and Harry would probably be terribly eloquent if he had time to think his words over (and didn't have to say them himself, bless him). Zayn and Liam are just spot on with their soft but firm conviction and I liked how initially Niall was the only one involved in music but that he wants all their voices on his possible record and how you managed to integrate that element as well.

Their falling out over Louis' letter was possibly my favourite thing because his confusion is such a lovely, real thing and I adore how it took him a while to grow sure of himself in this thing that they're doing. <3

All in all this is truly lovely.

Although it took me a while until I got that they weren't driving around the UK. For some reason.
Stephanie: 1D: sharing is caringjannika on May 28th, 2012 10:54 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much!! ♥

I'm so glad they still felt like them to you- I wanted them to just be- them in a more serious and even more intense situation, if that makes sense, and I'm so glad it came across.

Thank you again, so much! ♥

I probably should have clarified that in my AN actually. Sorry. *g*
i aim my arrows highaimmyarrowshigh on May 28th, 2012 11:25 am (UTC)
I really love this, and I love that you didn't go any of the stereotypical, overblown "1960s AU" routes (Woodstock, they're the ACTUAL Beatles, poorly-rendered racebending, etc). I had it in my head that they were students at Kent State at first so I was REALLY nervous going into reading it -- and actually remain nervous, because if they are and that's the campus they go back to, I don't see things ending well -- but I could also totally see them as upstate New York-area students close enough to the Canada border to make dodgers a real issue on their campus. Really enjoyed it!
Stephanie: 1D:fantastic little peoplejannika on May 28th, 2012 11:01 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much!!! ♥♥♥

I have a special place in my heart for 60s AUs and I really wanted to put them in all of that.

If it helps, I was thinking Oberlin, actually. Ohio mostly because of where they all come from in this world. (Mostly Harry, Niall and Zayn- Harry from a tiny town in Ohio itself, Niall from Maine somewhere and Zayn from Detroit, because in my head where they're from is such a huge part of who they are for the three of them, no matter what verse? Which, puts Liam as being from Cincinnati and Louis from Pittsburgh here, in my head. And that was probably a lot more rambling than you wanted, sorry. I'll stop now. *g*)

Thanks again! ♥
i aim my arrows highaimmyarrowshigh on May 28th, 2012 11:05 pm (UTC)
Kent State is in Ohio, too, actually! It's just a place more tied to the anti-war movement than any of the other colleges in... the country, really, so that's what I imagined. But I did ~feel the Ohio!
Stephanie: 1D: Zayn is like artjannika on May 28th, 2012 11:17 pm (UTC)
I know! *g* I think I meant to imply that you were close because I was also thinking Ohio and then lost that in my rambling? But yes. I knew what you meant and why Kent and all. *nods*

Simblacksimblack on May 28th, 2012 05:44 pm (UTC)
So many feelings. This was absolutely stunning and your writing so flawless. I loved it.
Stephanie: 1D: a co-dependent cuddle pilejannika on May 28th, 2012 11:01 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much!! ♥

I'm so glad you liked it! ♥
tay: ♥ hazzah | with a lover at your sidestttmsbwa on May 28th, 2012 07:16 pm (UTC)
Oh god Steph, just — oh god. This fic seriously just made my chest heave with all the feels that exploded inside.

You seriously just made the characters jump and sieze with realness, and especially Louis and Harry. Their 3-dimensional qualities made them so human and flawed and relatable and just astoundingly resonating, like they're the kind of people that don't even know the potential they have, but they see that potential in each other, which makes them invaluable to one another and it's fate that brought them together.

The fact that Louis goes into this whole thing mostly blind and dazzled and ends up falling into it as they move along, and Harry's the voice with all the passion and fear driving him, and Liam is the organizer who links everyone together and is their support system, and Zayn with his color and his want to make everyone vibrant in thought and visual appearance and he's honestly my secret favorite, and then Niall who is the heart of their musical aura and who refuses to be a recording company pawn and finds his own way to be heard — I think that all these qualities of the boys you brought out and emphasized and recreated into magnified and astounding ways, these might all be some of my favorite interpretations of who 1D is now and what they could be in only a matter of time.

The whole conflict between Harry and Louis just made me ache with a shuddering understanding of this is real and this is them and their differences could either tear them apart or envelop them into this single entity and it was actually the point when I thought I was going to melt into my couch because this was just so. fucking. good.

I'm sorry, this was really confusing and I think I just blathered on about nonsense and it probably doesn't make any sense. Bottom line: this fic was amazing, and you're amazing, and just. So many feelings. Flawless. Ugh.
Stephanie: 1D:i'd always save youjannika on May 28th, 2012 11:04 pm (UTC)
Thank you!! ♥

I just- this all seemed to fit them and they sort of took off with it from vague ideas of vans and Zayn painting that I had in my head.

I'm so, so glad they all worked for you here and gave you feelings. I felt like this was them, could be them, was a them put into this- with so many feelings and it's all so much more serious than I'd write Louis in 95% of other verses, but this one needed to exist. I think. I hope. *g*

This Zayn might my favorite Zayn i've written yet, actually? So. Thank you.

Thank you. You are also amazing and I love your face.

eviljellybean88eviljellybean88 on May 28th, 2012 08:25 pm (UTC)
this is brilliant, so brilliant and i love the even though it takes place in the 60's it still feels like this is something that could be happening now b/c of the revolution on the horizon :D
Stephanie: 1D:Harry&capturesjannika on May 28th, 2012 11:05 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much! I think that's why a 60s AU felt so very right for them?

I'm so glad you liked it. Thank you!

dolphinluva8dolphinluva8 on May 29th, 2012 01:31 am (UTC)
i should really learn to wait a while before i comment on stories i love because if i don't, i gush and flail and generally make an ass of myself.

oh well.

let me start off by saying that this written in one of my favorite eras. i'd say early 70's is my favorite, but this runs a very, very close second. you did a lovely job of staying accurate within the period without overdoing it.

i think one of the main things i loved about this fic was the character interactions. normally it's only the ships interacting with each other, but here every character has meaningful dialogue with all the other characters, and that's just really lovely to me. it was ot5-ish without being an actual ot5. i loved that. the part where louis and zayn first meet and the "make me pretty" line in particular was a great example of that. and it was just a really gorgeous part to read as well.

and i'll just quote this part back to you because it made me cry like a baby:

"Sorry," he says, when they break apart at the sound of his footsteps, "I'm leaving again right now, I promise."

"No," Zayn says, "Thank you."

"For what?" Louis asks.

"For making us brave," Liam says.

Louis thinks that's probably the best thing anyone has ever said to him.


just. oh my god. feelings. because everyone in the world needs a louis like your louis; someone to put blind faith in something uncertain and to make people believe, and consequently make them brave. just... ugh. perfect.

thank you for writing this. this story was really relevant and meaningful to me in a way i can't describe.
Stephanie: 1D: Harry&Zayn&intellectjannika on May 29th, 2012 05:07 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much! ♥

I just really love playing with all of their relationships, all five of them and the ships and then all the one on ones- and I'm so, so glad it all worked for you.

Everyone does need a Louis, I feel like. ♥

I'm so glad you liked it!

Thank you again!!!

her name was lady liln: 1D - Vanladililn on May 30th, 2012 06:22 am (UTC)
This is everything I have ever wanted of a revolutionary!Louis AU. omg writing the words/speaking the words hi jack and david i see u there *g* Niall and his music, and Zayn and his painting, and Harry and his passion and Liam and his earnestness and Louis and his past and the way he's trying to put all the pieces together. Just. My heart. ♥ (p.s. I ♥ you lots)

(OMG I HAVE THE BEST ICON FOR THIS YISSSS)
Stephanie: 1D: romantically codependentjannika on June 27th, 2012 09:21 pm (UTC)
Thank you! ♥ I wanted to write this for them for a really long time, and i'm so glad it all worked for you! ♥ Well. They are Jack and David. So. *g*

(YOU DO!)

anabsolutionanabsolution on May 30th, 2012 07:07 am (UTC)
God, this is absolutely great. It has all my favorite things. The ot5 dynamic in this was amazing. At some point, I stopped even seeing them as the Liam, Louis, Niall, Harry, and Zayn as we know them (which is a good thing!!), even though they still had the same traits each one of them have, I felt as if they were new characters in like, a real novel, you know?

The story was rich and compelling, ah God. And I'm a major history buff, so I just found the whole thing perfect for me. There wasn't a boring part in the whole story, and I anticipated some, because I always do with all fics, and was so so so pleased to not be bored at all.

Oh and I love this part.

“I’d probably just run with you,” Louis says, and he tries to keep it light and laugh a little as he says it, because he needs this to hurt less.

“That’s not funny,” Harry says.

“I know,” Louis says, “I know.”
Stephanie: 1D: Liam: competent and darlingjannika on June 27th, 2012 09:24 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much! ♥ OT5 is my actual favorite, and I've wanted to write this AU for them for a really long time. I'm really glad it worked for you! ♥

Thank you again! ♥
Morgan.vamphime on June 3rd, 2012 03:08 am (UTC)
I'm not going to lie, I dragged reading this fic out for days because I didn't want to finish it.
I love how everything fits together here and the backstory and their relationships with each other always get me just every time and then Louis's anger and his finding the source of it and it being enough- them being enough for him to share this story with them that he has never shared with anyone else and ugh nooo the thank you "for making us brave" absolutely slaughtered me. Sorry for that run-on but yeah.
Everything about this was beautiful and I suppose insightful would be the word but either way I just love this okay. Your writing is brilliant.
Stephanie: 1D: DJ Malikjannika on June 27th, 2012 09:28 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much! ♥ I wanted to write this for them- for Louis most of all- for so long, and I'm so, so glad that all of it and Louis' arch in it worked for you.

Thank you again! ♥
shoppermania: can't even put a nice caption on this rnshoppermania on June 10th, 2012 12:28 pm (UTC)
oh my gosh, this is just so beautiful and lovely! <3333!!
baboon_heartbaboon_heart on June 18th, 2012 03:06 pm (UTC)
Okay, I have a feeling this is going to be long and confusing, but I really want to leave a reaction.

First of all, I love the strong bond between all five of them, they all have this interactions, which makes this so much more than louis/harry and liam/zayn. In a lot of fics one of them seems totally unneccesary (niall often has this role, which is weird to me because he's such an interesting character to write) and is just there because it is customary, without being really integrated. But here they all fit in and all 'need' eachother.

And how you made them real, gave them profundity and they were just so human. Like I could still see the 1d boys, but at the same time so much more. Louis, who is still charismatic, but also confused and then how he discovers himself throughout this.
And then Harry, so passionate and angry and determined, but probably more scared than anything.

I adore your liam/zayn, who always belong togheter (that's my shipperheart speaking), but are so perfect here. Liam, with his 'lost' friend and zayn, musing but at the same time maybe the most realistic, who tries to make it okay for liam. The scene, where zayn is drawing all over liam, is so precious. Also because there was this song playing, which was so fitting for that moment and idek, I just felt complete or smt (i'm sorry, i don't even know what i'm saying, i'm getting a bit sentimental).

And Niall, sweet, passionate, hopefull, lighthearted niall, and yeah I just love him.

I wanna say so much more, but i've never been very good at expressing my feelings and such, so I'm just gonna stop babbling, because it just comes down to the fact that this is so lovely and I think everyone should read this, even if they don't like 1d.
And I hope this comment made sense, because feelings and tiredness and the fact that english is not my first language. I'm done now, ha.
Stephanie: 1D: wearing your letterman's jacket.jannika on June 27th, 2012 09:31 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much! This comment makes me really, really happy. ♥

I loved this world for them- it fit to me, and all their backstories were so much fun for me. The Liam/Zayn painting on each other thing is actually one of my favorite little things I've ever written in any fandom ever, I think? So I'm so, so glad that you enjoyed it and that ti worked for you.

It made a lot of sense, thank you. So much. ♥

upallcarrotupallcarrot on June 21st, 2012 01:01 am (UTC)
god, this is so perfect and you are stunning. x
Stephanie: 1D: Harry&Louis&dancejannika on June 27th, 2012 09:33 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much! ♥
Poor Medeapoor_medea on July 5th, 2012 11:39 am (UTC)
This was really lovely.
joreleroojoreleroo on October 11th, 2012 09:10 pm (UTC)
That was beautiful! Harry being worried/angry about Louis possibly not taking him and living together seriously - how cute! And yay for Liam and Zayn! They've liked each other for a while and finally got together! So happy for all of them! Love the story! Keep up the great work! You are definitely one of my favourite authors! :)
Kazialways_sakura on October 13th, 2012 01:16 pm (UTC)
This is one of the best 1D fics I have ever read. Social justice stuff really, really gets to me, and this was hopeful without being naive, and Louis' POV was so good, and the OT5 feels were perfect. Really, really lovely.

Thanks for writing ♥
xdisasterologyx: One Directionxdisasterologyx on January 7th, 2013 04:46 am (UTC)
This is my first time reading a 1960s AU in any fandom and it's stunning. Your writing is absolutely beautiful and I'm still in awe over the way that you managed to make everything come to life.
mrodrigues94 on June 7th, 2013 02:12 am (UTC)
im pretty sure that this is a story that really happened in some universe??
perfect!!
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